Thursday, August 22, 2013

Restoring our vintage appliances

I am pretty confident that our kitchen is almost completely original. It comes with the original linoleum flooring, which is coming apart under my feet, tin lined drawers, green glass sliding cabinet doors, and single pane aluminum frame windows. When I took my faucet parts to the hardware store the plumbing guy confirmed that the faucet was in fact a 1950 era faucet and the flip up laminate counter tops with metal trim scream 1950. But the true stars of this vintage kitchen are the ORIGINAL kitchen appliances. 

Just look at that oven. Could anything be more charming? "Sure it's tiny... never mind that a full size cookie sheet or pizza pan will not fit, yeah it's pretty scary inside...meh...and who cares that there may not be precise temperature dials...the cookie sheet doesn't fit anyway...I don't care what you say my vintage oven stays!!!" Oh yeah and that wall it's built into, it's a concrete block wall, the wall between the house and the garage and a load bearing one to boot. Bottom line this is our oven and this is our stove and barring a complete remodel of this kitchen they are what we got.

What we've got they may be, but working they were not, or so our inspector informed us before we bought the house. So after a big gulp and some initial consultation with with a local appliance repair shop that specializes in rehabbing vintage appliances we took a leap, hoped for the best moved forward. A few days ago the appliance repair man came out to asses our situation. The stove top was sort of working, or at least some of the burners were although they seemed to have two temperatures off and HOT, but I'd somehow managed to cook dinner for the first week on it. However the oven wasn't even turning on.

He pretty quickly assessed that the problem with the stove top was easy, heating elements simply needed replaced and the knobs needed changed out so that they properly corresponded to the heat indicators on the face plate. The oven on the other hand...yeah that one's not so easy. I wish I'd taken more pictures as he pulled it apart. The heating elements were wire coils running underneath a metal plate, both the coils and the pate had rusted through in parts. Once he pulled those out it was easy to see that we needed new heating elements. But then after further exploration he determined that the internal wiring was working for the broiler plate but not for the main heating element. Which means our oven got to come out of the wall, which was quite a process, and get's to be rebuilt. The good news is these old Thermador wall ovens were very well made quality appliances and once rebuilt will have a good long life to come.

Meanwhile I get to clean this mess. EWWWW!!!!! That black line around the oven box is 50 years of grease and grime and I don't even know what all of those spider web like things are hanging in there, they are black and sort of fuzzy and distinctly not spider webs.

The oven will take 2-3 weeks, there is a bit of back log in the shop. They will take our oven apart to assess the internal wiring and probably re-wire it, replace the heating elements and then check the thermostat. So far we are $275 into the project. In addition to the parts we will have to pay an hourly service fee as well. So we are probably looking at an additional $300-$600. Which is okay because as I said we knew before we bought the house that rehabbing appliances would be required and we had a very good idea of what that might cost so it was all factored in.

And that my friends is the story of how we are keeping our vintage appliances and how they are likely going to come to cost more than brand new ones in the end. Se la vie...they are 100x more charming than new ones anyway.

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